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20 February . 2019

Austin ranks as one of the least stressed, most active cities in Texas

The 700 acres of parks, trails and natural open space in Sweetwater aren’t just pretty to look at and fun to explore for residents of this Austin area new-home master-planned community. These green spaces may also be good for your health, according to three recent studies that have noted Austin’s healthy lifestyle and the benefits of living close to nature.

A top city for an active life. Austin has recently made great strides on WalletHub’s list of the best U.S. cities for enjoying an active and healthy life. For 2019, Austin ranks No. 18 out of 100 cities evaluated by 38 key indicators, such as swimming pools per capita, monthly fitness club fees, and the percent of physically inactive residents.

Austin is the top-ranked Texas city in the study, coming in well ahead of the second highest-ranked Texas city, Houston, which placed No. 42.

Austin has made great strides since the last time this study crunched the numbers, in 2016. Back then, Austin ranked No. 54.

Low-stress city. Austin ranks as one of the least-stressed cities in Texas and the United States, says a recent study from WalletHub, which compared 182 U.S. cities using four key stressors, including work, finances, family, and health and safety.

Austin ranks as the second-to-last least-stressed city in Texas, coming in at No. 15 of the 16 Texas cities included in the study. Only Plano, a Dallas suburb, ranked lower. On a national level, Austin ranks a chill No. 142 out of the 182 cities studied.

With stress linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes, Austin’s low-stress ranking is a major benefit for residents.

Less heart disease. People who live in leafy, green neighborhoods may have a lower risk of developing heart disease and strokes, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

In a study that was the first of its kind, researchers from the University of Louisville looked at the effect of neighborhood green spaces at the individual level.

Over five years, researchers analyzed markers of stress and cardiovascular disease risk in 408 people of varying ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic levels. Across the board, they found lower levels of stress and higher capacity to repair blood vessels.

“Our study shows that living in a neighborhood dense with trees, bushes and other green vegetation may be good for the health of your heart and blood vessels," said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., lead study author and professor of medicine and director of the University of Louisville Diabetes and Obesity Center.

Previous studies have also suggested that neighborhood green spaces are associated with positive effects on overall physical and psychosocial health and well-being, the researchers noted.

Sweetwater’s healthy lifestyle includes a fitness center and other amenities at the Sweetwater Club, miles of trails, and events throughout the year.

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